CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Surface Mine Board will hold a hearing Monday on the permit for a controversial surface mine project near Kanawha State Forest—a hiking and biking destination in Kanawha County.
Keystone Coal’s KD #2 surface mine is located just east of Kanawha State Forest and, as planned, will come within 588 feet of the forest boundary during the course of the mining.
Work on the 414-acre mine site, which could produce seven million tons of coal over a 10-year period, started in early June. During July, DEP inspectors found problems with two sediment ditches.
The opposition to the mine project started long before those issues were identified.
Citizens with the Kanawha State Forest Coalition, the Keeper of the Mountains and other groups have argued the mine site is too close to Kanawha State Forest and, because of that, threatens streams there along with native plant and animal species including a type of endangered bat.
Last week, members of those groups and others rallied at the State Capitol and delivered a petition with 4,000 signatures to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin that called for the permit for the project to be rescinded.
The status of the Keystone permit is up to the DEP.
The surface mine project has been in the works for years.
The original permit request for Keystone Coal’s KD #2 mine was filed with the DEP in 2009. That proposal was altered before the permit was approved last May to shrink the size of the mine site, address reclamation and limit blasting on weekends and holidays.
Monday’s hearing will begin a 8:30 a.m. at the DEP’s headquarters in Charleston and it is expected to last most of the day. It can be viewed here.
Kanawha State Forest is a 9,300-acre forest located seven miles south of Charleston.